Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours with Sergio Ramos, Gotze, Neuer
We're at the time of year when manager press conferences usually contain one or two questions relating to planning for the summer transfer window ahead—and every quote, no matter how carefully worded, inevitably leads to increased transfer speculation and rumours.
We've picked up 20 of the biggest for the week and ordered them according to the fee involved, the reputation of the player and the size and success of the buying club.
This time out, we've got plenty of potential ins and outs concerning Liverpool after quotes from Ian Ayre suggested the club would back manager Jurgen Klopp in summer. Andy Hunter of the Guardian reported a "substantial" transfer kitty being available, leading to lots of speculation about which players would be targeted or offloaded—but plenty of other clubs and players are listed, too!
20. Emmanuel Eboue
Sunderland are ready to make a move for Emmanuel Eboue over the weekend, according to Chris Young of the Sunderland Echo.
The right-back has been training with the Black Cats for the past couple of weeks in a bid to prove his fitness, having been released from Galatasaray last summer.
A former Arsenal defender, Eboue has Premier League experience, which appeals to Sam Allardyce, as does his communication prowess.
19. Sardar Azmoun
Everton's recent investment in the club by Farhad Moshiri is expected to lead to significant spending in the summer, and the first name linked with the team is Sardar Azmoun—the Iranian Lionel Messi.
That's according to the Tehran Times (h/t Metro), with Everton monitoring the FC Rostov midfielder with a view to making a move at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old forward is on loan from Rubin Kazan and has scored three goals in 13 games this season.
18. Rolando Aarons
Arsenal are looking to make a move for Newcastle United winger Rolando Aarons in the summer, according to the Mirror.
The Magpies winger has only fleetingly been involved with his current club as he seeks to break through as a regular. He has not agreed a new contract, and his deal expires at the end of 2015-16.
Aarons has featured at left-back as well as in midfield this season, totalling eight first-team appearances. The 20-year-old has also suffered calf and ankle injuries this term.
17. Piotr Zielinski
Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski is the first name of a few this week linked with moves to or from Liverpool.
He is currently on loan at Empoli, but the Guardian's Andy Hunter reported that he is part of a clutch of potential new signings whom Jurgen Klopp has earmarked to take the Anfield club forward next season.
Joel Matip and Marko Grujic have already been signed and will join up with the team in the summer.
16. Mario Balotelli
Liverpool's out-on-loan striker Mario Balotelli is wanted by Sinisa Mihajlovic beyond this season, despite a less-than-successful spell at the Milan this term.
Mundo Deportivo (h/t Express) reported that the manager still counts on Balotelli to improve the side for next year, and that the Reds will happily offload their man, who cost £16 million when they originally signed him from Milan two years ago.
Balotelli has struggled with injury this term and has scored only three goals.
15. Angelo Ogbonna
West Ham United defender Angelo Ogbonna has enjoyed a fine debut season in the Premier League and is now being chased by bigger sides.
Matt Hughes of the Times reported that Manchester United and Manchester City are both after the Italian, with at least one new centre-back certain to arrive at both clubs, potentially more.
West Ham signed Ogbonna for £8.5 million last summer.
14. Lorenzo Insigne
Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne is being linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, according to Calciomercato (h/t Express). An £18 million price tag is likely to be enough to bring the forward from the Serie A club at the end of the season.
Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be open to signing the wide attacker, who has 12 goals this season.
13. Domenico Berardi
Jose Mourinho's first signing as hypothetical Manchester United manager would be the £23 million capture of Domenico Berardi.
That's according to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Express), which suggested that Mourinho has been eyeing up the Sassuolo forward to ensure he is the man he wants to lead an Old Trafford revolution.
There is still no confirmation, of course, that Louis van Gaal will be leaving United at all, let alone Mourinho coming in to replace him. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also linked with Berardi.
12. Ilkay Gundogan
Borussia Dortmund's midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has just one year left on his current contract and looks set to leave the Bundesliga club in the summer.
A whole host of Europe's big teams are chasing the German international, including Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona, but Manchester City are now the front-runners, according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
The report suggested that Gundogan wants to play under Pep Guardiola and that BVB will prefer to sell the player this summer rather than lose him on a free transfer a year later.
11. Granit Xhaka
Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka has the dream of playing in England, according to quotes he gave to Sport1.de (h/t talkSPORT).
The Swiss star has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea, among other top-flight teams in the Premier League, and has been rated at between €30-50 million.
Gladbach are fourth in the Bundesliga and looking at Champions League qualification once again for next term, something neither of the above English clubs are likely to offer.
10. Christian Benteke
Liverpool's big-money signing from last summer, Christian Benteke, hasn't had the desired impact at all this term after netting just seven goals in all competitions and not finding the net in 2016 yet.
He didn't come off the bench in the Capital One Cup final and has hasn't managed more than a half-hour of game time in a single league game since early January. ESPN FC (h/t Express) suggested that the Belgian is ready to head elsewhere.
The Express' James Dickenson also reported that he turned down a move to China recently.
Real Madrid creative midfielder Isco is said to be on the verge of being sold by his club after failing to produce the "consistency...demanded at a team like Real," according to AS.
Isco has been in and out of the team under Zinedine Zidane and has largely failed to take his chance to nail down a regular spot, even when played centrally and with Gareth Bale missing from the starting XI in recent weeks.
James Rodriguez is also said to be annoying his club to the point of selling him, but only if they receive a huge fee, according to the paper.
Saul Niguez has been attracting interest and plaudits for his performances over the last three months and is now said to be the target of interest for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
AS (h/t Mirror) reported that Saul wants a new £100,000-a-week deal to stay at Atletico, where his current release clause is set for around £35 million and his deal expires in 2020.
Saul has performed this season in every midfield role for Atletico, as well as at centre-back and just off the striker.
7. Mauro Icardi
Inter Milan's star striker Mauro Icardi is being continually linked with a move away over the summer, with Corriere dello Sport (h/t Star) reporting that he is valued at £30 million by his club, which will happily let him leave.
Manchester United and Chelsea are both linked with signing the forward, who has scored 11 goals in Serie A this season.
However, the report indicated that Inter will only consider offloading the Argentine if they don't qualify for the Champions League next season.
6. Miralem Pjanic
AS Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic looks set to be a man in demand once again this summer, with the Times' Matt Hughes reporting that Chelsea are already in discussions over a move for him.
A £31 million buyout clause has reportedly been discovered after Chelsea's lead negotiator spoke to the player's representatives.
Antonio Conte is said to have recommended the Bosnian as one of the players he wants if he joins as Chelsea's new manager in the summer.
5. Mario Gotze
The big name on Jurgen Klopp's wishlist for this summer is his former No. 10 star at Borussia Dortmund, current Bayern Munich attacker Mario Gotze.
The German international will have one year left to run on his contract come the summer, and Andy Hunter of the Guardian put him at the top of Klopp's wanted list.
A number of Reds players are set to depart to raise funds, including the aforementioned Benteke and Balotelli, neither of whom would have space in the team were a player such as Gotze to arrive while others remain at Anfield, including Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal is targeting plenty of big names if Simon Jones' Daily Mail report is to be believed, with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang their priority for the front line.
The Gabon striker is said to prefer a move to Spain, however, which could lead to the Gunners looking at any of Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski or Odion Ighalo.
Aubameyang has scored 22 goals in 23 league games this term.
3. Paul Pogba
Chelsea have been watching Paul Pogba again and are hoping to make the first move to sign the Juventus midfielder.
That's the latest from Italy, where Corriere dello Sport (h/t Express) reported that the Blues sent a scouting team over to watch Pogba in action in the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Inter Milan during the week.
Pogba's side lost 3-0 but won the tie on penalties, with Pogba himself netting one of the spot kicks.
2. Manuel Neuer
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer reportedly wants a new contract worth around £300,000 per week, double the wage of the highest earners at the club.
That request, according to Adrian Kajumba of the Mirror, will see Pep Guardiola make a move for him in the summer, taking his current first-choice stopper from the Allianz Arena to the Etihad Stadium as his first major signing after he becomes Manchester City manager.
Joe Hart, current City No. 1, looks to be out of favour, as the report indicated that Guardiola will look elsewhere if he is unable to land Neuer.
1. Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo
A big rumour coming out of Spain this week suggested that two of Real Madrid's key players have asked for transfers away this summer.
TV show El Chiringuito (h/t Sport) reported that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos have asked to be allowed to leave the Santiago Bernabeu once the end of the season rolls around.
A defeat to Atletico Madrid last weekend was the tipping point, and it's fast looking like Real Madrid will end the season without silverware again.